Steve Kerr Doesn’t Believe Officials Cost Warriors Game 3 Against Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After getting blown out by the Golden State Warriors in Game 2, the Los Angeles Lakers returned the favor back home in Game 3 with a 127-97 victory to take a 2-1 series lead.

There were a number of factors that led to the victory for the Lakers, but after the game, the Warriors and their fans were mainly focused on the officiating.

After the Lakers fell behind by double digits in the second quarter, they went on a big run to regain the lead, mainly by getting to the free throw line with the Warriors unable to stop fouling.

That completely flipped the momentum as the Warriors lost their composure, committing flagrant and technical fouls to allow the Lakers to take control of the game. In Game 3, the Lakers shot 37 free throws compared to just 17 for the Warriors. Overall in the series, the Lakers have gone to the line 83 times while the Warriors have only gone 42 times.

While guys like Draymond Green and Stephen Curry took exception with the officiating in Game 3, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr disagreed with that sentiment, via 95.7 The Game:

“We didn’t lose the game because of the officials so there’s no point in whining about anything. There were definitely calls that we didn’t like but every game, both coaches can say that. This is not about anything other than our performance.”

Kerr is right that officiating is not what cost the Warriors Game 3 as they had 19 turnovers and shot just 29.5% from 3-point range, which is usually Golden State’s biggest strength.

The Lakers were at the top of the league in free throw attempts in 2022-23 while also being one of the best at keeping their opponents off the line. On the other hand, the Warriors are a jump-shooting team that struggles to not foul on defense, which is what has led to the big free-throw discrepancy in this series.

Golden State doesn’t have anyone like LeBron James, Anthony Davis or even Austin Reaves that can attack the paint and draw contact to get to the line. Instead, the Warriors have attempted 139 3-pointers in this series compared to just 90 for the Lakers.

That is not a recipe for getting to the free throw line, so unless the Warriors change their style of play and find a way to get bigger and more physical offensively, the charity stripe discrepancy likely will not change for the rest of the series.

Ham explains how free throw line is important to Lakers’ success

Getting to the free throw line has always been a strength of teams Darvin Ham has been a part of, and he recently explained that’s because it’s something he and his staff focuses on in practice.

Ham coaches his team on how to play physically without fouling, and it has worked to this point.

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